Morris Theatre Micro Screen

$2,643 of $35,000 goal

Raised by 57 people in 19 months
Created June 22, 2017
Thomas Howden
on behalf of Morris Theatre Cooperative
A long time ago in a small town far far away there was a single screen movie theatre that served the community of Morris, Minnesota. Since the 1940's the Morris Theatre has brought the world of movies to this two stoplight, Lake Wobegon-ish town. So many classic movies have been seen on the Morris big screen. We cared what happened to Scarlett even if Rhett did not. We wondered about Rosebud, Redrum, and when we're gonna need a bigger boat. If there was something strange in the neighborhood, you could always find it at the Morris Theatre, along with a good laugh. (Check out this six minute video from PBS about our history. )
Ten years ago the Theatre almost closed down, but a group of community members formed a co-op and have worked hard to keep the Theatre alive. The community has come together to fix the roof, plaster the walls and of course pop that movie popcorn. 

Even as “cloud” based technology steals market share from the movie industry, it has been the community that has proven there is no place like home and has kept this small town theatre alive. The community of Morris has demonstrated it is important to keep the movie theatre open. Hundreds of community members are part of the cooperative, the local fire department sponsors a movie for kids during fire prevention week. Religious groups have sponsored inspiring movies for the community. Morris Theatre hosted a climate change summit and has shown young Minnesota directors’ fledgling films. The theatre is also working with the University of Minnesota Morris campus to bring the art of film and storytelling to our community.

Houston, we have a problem.

Our next great challenge: the movie business itself. Regrettably movie studios are becoming our enemy. Studios are insisting that even small single screen theatres, like ourselves, must keep first run movies for three weeks. This means no other movie can be shown on our one screen while the first run movie is in town, which is a significant problem because our audience drops off dramatically in subsequent weeks. To keep showing first run movies we need a smaller, second screen. This will allow us to move first run movies to the smaller screen after two weeks, and bring in a new movie on the big screen. We can also use the small screen for quirky films and special events while a first run film is showing on the main screen.

Nobody puts Baby in a corner!

In order to make this happen we plan on renovating this under utilized lounge area into a micro theatre with its own dedicated digital projector.  

This would allow us to:

- increase the number of first run movies we could present on opening night.
- improve the financial viability of the theatre for years to come.
- expand the variety of foreign and art movies shown.
- increase colaborations with local organisations to show movies for them on our screens.
- host video game events such as new game launches.
- create a space for private party screenings, where a group of friends can gather to watch their favourite movies, or celebrate a birthday or anniversary.

The future of the Morris Theatre will be bright if we can 
create a second screen.  Please go ahead and make our day and contribute to our campaign to help the Theatre thrive in this new digital age.

Thank you for your consideration and where is my two dollars?

Movie mis/quotes from: Star Wars, Jaws, Ghostbusters, Apollo 13, Dirty Dancing, Wizard of Oz, Better Off Dead and Sudden Impact.
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Update 2
Posted by Thomas Howden
5 months ago
I have great news GoFundMe supporters: Friday 10th August we began showing movies on our fabulous new second screen!

We opened our new screen by moving Mission: Impossible - Fallout there for its second week in town. As a consequence this allowed us to bring in two other movies on the main screen.

It’s so exciting to see how the space has changed and how the possibilities for the future of the theatre have expanded. Our grateful thanks go out to all who have donated and spread the word here on GoFundMe, and to all the people who supported us via other channels.

Much blood, sweat and tears were shed to create Morris Theatre Cooperative’s Second Screen. MTC volunteers and board members, the wider community, and local businesses and contractors, have attended multiple meetings, discussed the hows and wherefores, problem solved, as well as put in a lot of physical labour.

This is not the end of our plans. We have a number of future projects on the horizon including; renovation of the bathrooms, an upgraded concessions area and, eventually, a third screen.

Again, thank you! If you are in town come by and check out what’s showing this week on both of our wonderful screens. Buy a Bonnie’s Special and settle in for the next chapter in the Morris Theatre’s life.

Susan, MTC board member

PS Further donations are still welcome!
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Update 1
Posted by Thomas Howden
17 months ago
We have some exciting news to announce!

After many conversations with contractors, board member discussions and progress with the fund raising for our micro screen project on a variety of fronts, the Morris Theatre Cooperative (MTC) board met on Monday 14th August 2017 and voted to begin work on the micro screen.

The project has been divided into two main stages:

1) electrical, forced air heating/cooling system, floor and hallway modifications, concession area alterations,

2) seats and digital projector purchases and installation.

Stage 1 has been approved and work will begin when we can schedule the contractors. Enough money has been raised, from multiple sources, to more than cover this stage of the construction.

As we move ahead with stage 1 we will still need to continue to fundraise in order to complete the budget for stage 2. Support us through this GoFundMe or by becoming a member of the Morris Theatre Cooperative via our web page ( http://morristheatre.net/join.htm). (Coop members can also participate in the loan program.)

We are a step closer to our dream of opening a second screen and putting the Morris Theatre on a sounder financial footing. Many thanks to those who have contributed so far. Your messages have lifted our spirits and encouraged us to keep going with this project.

Please continue to share our GoFundMe on social media.

Susan (MTC board member)

PS After hearing about this project the owner of the Montevideo Theatre offered us some rocker seats with cup holders at a very favourable rate. No money from the micro screen fundraising will be used to pay for these seats and volunteers will transport and install them in our main auditorium. This is a great example of the cooperative spirit at the theatre at work.
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$2,643 of $35,000 goal

Raised by 57 people in 19 months
Created June 22, 2017
Thomas Howden
on behalf of Morris Theatre Cooperative
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